How can I make the aging process more comfortable for my OES?
February 10, 2010 7:29 PM   Subscribe

My parents' nine year-old Old English Sheepdog is losing muscle in his hips, and having difficulty getting up. Their house also has predominantly wood flooring. I came across Bark'n Boots Grip Trex Dog Boots during a Google search, and noticed one user's comments said they helped his dog's arthritis a great deal- has anyone else had similar success in using rubber-grip Dog Boots to help a large-breed dog experiencing difficulty in getting up? Aside from adding glucosamine supplements to his diet and placing floor mats on his favorite spots, what else can I do?
posted by invisible ink to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My parents' dog has the same problem and I've been meaning to buy her a set of these to wear in the house (which I have for my dog to go on walks). They used to have carpet in the house and that was fine, but when they got hardwood floors she started sliding and falling down the stairs, which really doesn't help matters at all. The Pawz are lighter weight and won't make her feet overheat as much as the heavier boots would and they should be just as good for non-slipping since they're rubber.

I had a set of Muttluks for my dog before these and he wouldn't wear them and when I did talk him into going out in them they would inevitable fall off and get lost (and they're kind of expensive for that).

The Pawz do not fall off ever and we've yet to wear one out. My dog has been reusing the same four all winter with no problem at all. The only downside to wearing them in the house is that if your dog goes in and out frequently it would be a pain to put them on and take them off constantly, but that's probably true of any boot.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:45 PM on February 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

I came in here to recommend the Pawz also. If he's going to be wearing them all the time, I think they'll be a lot healthier for his foot mechanics than the stiff Grip Trex boots. His feet will still move normally, they just won't slip. I'd make sure to take them off as often as possible, though, because of the moisture buildup.
posted by HotToddy at 8:03 PM on February 10, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome. Those Pawz are EXACTLY what I'm looking for. I have no doubt my OES would find the Grip Trex cumbersome and annoying, and would rip them off.

I'm definitely going to order some Pawz, but please keep the suggestions & advice coming! Thanks If only I had a penguin & HotToddy:-)
posted by invisible ink at 8:25 PM on February 10, 2010

Aside from adding glucosamine supplements to his diet and placing floor mats on his favorite spots, what else can I do?

My dog takes Rimadyl chewable tablets daily for her arthritis, and they've made a huge difference. She doesn't need to wear boots on a regular basis, but she has dog booties for when the weather dips into the mid-teens or colder or whenever there's likely to be salt on sidewalks.
posted by bentley at 8:47 PM on February 10, 2010

Another good idea is to lay Flor tiles on the dog's most frequently-used paths through the house. I did this when my dog had a broken leg and they were perfect. They have a rubber backing so they won't slip on the wood floor, and you can lay them exactly where the dog likes to walk. My dog figured out within about an hour that the key to remaining upright was staying on the carpet tiles. Bonus, if your parents' dog becomes incontinent with age, the tiles can simply be picked up and washed off in the kitchen sink.
posted by HotToddy at 10:39 PM on February 10, 2010

Our six-year-old Jack Russell has been getting a tablespoon of Dinovite in his food a couple of months. We've seen a dramatic improvement in his arthritis. He has the energy and mobility of a puppy again, and other conditions (shedding, odor) have improved greatly, as well. I was skeptical when we first tried it, but I can't imagine we'd ever take him off of it.
posted by unclejeffy at 2:57 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sticky shelf paper is another good solution; the grippy kind that keeps glasses from sliding around.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:11 AM on February 11, 2010

Best answer: Injectable glucosamine (Adequan) works much better in controlled studies and is cheaper after the first month than any oral supplement (you give two injections a week for the first month, and then just one a month afterward). Do not listen to people who say it has to be given IM, subcutaneous injections work just as well and are easy to do. I would talk to your vet about that, but do your own research since many vets are unfamiliar with it and/or do not know about how effective it is, and/or think it can only be given IM (since that's how it's labeled for FDA reasons).

Second, some kind of physical therapy is extremely helpful, passive range of motion exercises, swimming, etc. You could find a Certified Canine Rehab Practitioner near you to help, at least initially.

Definitely put non-slip mats all over your house. Boots are OK, but you can't leave them on all the time without risking skin damage. They make little stick-on suede things which glue on to the dog's pads which work well, here's one kind, this is a better choice than a full foot boot.

Keep the dog very lean, in a good 4.5/9 body condition score, and feed a high quality diet. Definitely add a high-quality Essential Fatty Acid supplement like Eicosaderm to the diet. Discuss pain management with your vet, or ideally find a pain management specialist to consult with (there are lots of options, and pain management is critical for long term comfort and quality of life, dogs only care about quality of life, and there are lots of different medications available to us now which can help a great deal in this regard, most regular vets are unfamiliar with this and tend to stick to NSAIDs, when there are many more effective and safer medications, many vets who DO use the other medications tend to avoid combining them, or under-dose them).

Good for you for trying to help! There is a lot you can do!
posted by biscotti at 7:16 AM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

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